January 6, 2009

Lewan impresses Under Armour OL coach

Offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, a four-star prospect out of Scottsdale, Ariz., will be a natural fit for Michigan's spread offense according to his position coach at the Under Armour High School All-American Game …

"Without a doubt, he's definitely a great fit," Salt Lake City Cottonwood head coach Cecil Thomas said. "Taylor is very athletic, with an outstanding motor. His feet are very good. He was a finalist among offensive and defensive linemen in the skills competition we had down there and he just got beat out by a kid going to Oklahoma.

"I was extremely impressed with his body, his athleticism and his work ethic. He was a very hard worker, with great hands, and he understands leverage. Now, he needs to build strength in his lower body so he can get down low enough to create an advantage but with that kind of attitude he'll shore up his weaknesses quickly."

The 6-7, 272-pounder was one of the all-star game's most consistent performers, earning a spot on the White team's Hot 11 after practices both Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. He played well in the game too, helping lift the White team to a 27-16 victory.

"I'm proud of Taylor and all eight of our offensive linemen because we did not allow a sack in the game," Thomas said. "It can be difficult coming together in such a short time, but everyone checked their egos and was committed to working towards building chemistry.

"Taylor was a great kid to be around. He kept it pretty loose but when it was time to go to work, he was pushing himself as hard as he could. He was very eager to learn and eager to improve."

Lewan played left tackle in the contest and could start at the same position for Michigan, though he has the versatility to move around.

"I could see him at left or right tackle, but I also think he's a good enough athlete to play guard," Thomas said. "I think he might be a better fit for tackle right now just because he understands how to keep a defensive end at bay and, for now, he lacks that lower-body strength you really need to drive a defender off the ball.

"But the kid is a fighter and as soon as he hits that weight room, he'll build that body to a point that no matter what his coaches ask him to do, or where to play, he'll be able to succeed."

Thomas didn't work with fellow Michigan commitment Craig Roh, a four-star defensive end, but he saw Lewan's high-school teammate quite a bit in practice and was impressed.

"That kid can play," he said. "He's a powerful kid, has a lot of tenacity and really strikes well. He seemed to really enjoy getting his hands into our offensive linemen when we'd run one-on-one drills, knocking them around a little bit and then getting to the ball carrier. He just has one of those attitudes where you better be ready to get nasty with him or he's going to punish you.

"I think both those kids are going to have great careers at Michigan."

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